For Apollo 11 50th Anniversary: “Moon Landing”

In honor of the first landing and walking of a human on the moon on July 16, 1969, with the Apollo 11 space program, here’s my poem “Moon Landing”:

Moon Landing

Past the craters’ cutthroat edges, a calculus
of wings unfurls. Our minds tighten ship
through gutwrench math toward the plain of shadows,

our words mere nuts and bolts. No miracles
until the deed is done. Split-second jams
conveyed in jargon to the gods of Houston,

with us, with us — an aura of omniscience
far from where they smoke and stare at screens.
Roger—can you see us? Roger—tell us

where the metal butterfly’s approach
will touch the myth, the mirror, violate
the mover of the tides we left behind.

In blackdrop space, the blue/white marbled globe
beams a bright pang on this gray-scale world
so desolate no ghosts or fossils haunt

the place we plunge toward. Trajectories
morph, equations go awry. The roughed-up
desert seas, gaps of annihilation

we grip in practiced hands and potent codes.
Against the graves and gravity, we scan
for flatness down breathless degrees, deploy

a subtle physics, gear, grace of God,
touchdown. We’re in black and white. Alive.
The gods unclench their fists and spit their gum—

our footfalls sink into the regolith
that yields our perfect prints in perfect gray.
5FE86253-8687-4E5A-A9E0-D48B3AD1BDC4

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